Preaching on Sexuality Issues

Why preach on sexuality issues?

  • Breaks the silence on sexuality in religious spaces and helps reduce stigma.
  • Affirms that sexuality is a sacred gift of our createdness.
  • Addresses harmful biblical messages that are pervasive in the culture.
  • Acknowledges the reality of people’s lives.
  • Demonstrates that religious leaders are comfortable talking about sexuality issues and open to offering pastoral care.

Guidelines for preaching on sexuality issues

Preparation is more than just sermon writing.

  • Make the congregation aware of sensitive topics coming up in preaching (take into account age appropriateness, congregants’ history, etc)
  • Prepare referral lists for potential pastoral care needs following the sermon
  • Identify related events in the life of the community (not individuals’ stories, of course) so that the sermon isn’t the only time a particular issues is mentioned.

Concentrate on teachable moments.

  • Start with integration of sexuality issues in the service, perhaps based on current events, rather than a whole sermon on sexuality.
  • Remember sexuality issues are more than behavior and orientation, and are often in the news. Address the
  • Sermons can’t stand alone – the rest of the service is a place for education, too.

Practice what you preach.

  • Use inclusive language (for example, refer to “people who can get pregnant” or “same-sex couples”).
  • Observe healthy boundaries, especially if you are telling a story from your own life.
  • Tailor the message to your congregation, meeting them where they are and helping them to stretch a bit further.
  • You are not perfect; your examples shouldn’t be either. Don’t be afraid to discuss how you have grown or changed on an issue.

Material adapted from A Time to Build: Creating Sexually Healthy Faith Communities, by Rev. Debra W. Haffner

Posted in Uncategorized.